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Palm Pre goes on sale (photos)

updated 10:45 am EDT, Sat June 6, 2009

Palm Pre On Sale

(Updated with photos) Sprint today officially started sales of the Palm Pre, its first multi-touch phone and what's been regarded as the most direct contender with the iPhone. Initial reports of stock sent to Electronista vary and show that both supply and demand vary heavily depending on the region: Sprint stores, particularly in major cities like New York, have relatively large supply of as much as 100 or more. However, third-party stores like Best Buy and Radio Shack have relatively much smaller supply and little to no queuing.

Leaks from within Best Buy ahead of the launch had suggested the retailer may not have healthy supply until July, prompting speculation either that Sprint's stores were favored much more heavily than others or else that supply was so low that third-party stores couldn't be guaranteed reliable stock. No slips have surfaced about Radio Shack's availability ahead of today's debut.

The Pre's key selling point is webOS, which debuts on the phone. Besides offering a comparatively intuitive, finger-driven interface and full HTML web browsing, it offers a handful of key features that will be absent from its Apple rival even with iPhone OS 3.0, including true multitasking for features such as background Internet radio, universal search that includes Google, Twitter and Wikipedia, and an online sync concept known as Synergy that can merge contacts and calendars from the phone, Google and Facebook while automatically eliminating duplicates. Lighter restrictions on third-party apps allow PalmOS emulation.

A 3-megapixel camera and a slide-out hardware QWERTY keyboard are its key advantages over the current iPhone; otherwise, it has 3G, 8GB of built-in storage, GPS and Wi-Fi much like its key challenger at the $199 price point.

Both Palm and Sprint are depending heavily on a successful launch to turn around struggling businesses but have been helped by mostly positive reviews that praise the operating system while raising concerns about the keyboard and some minor but notable build quality concerns.

by MacNN Staff



  1. DrMinor

    Joined: Dec 1969


    pawns in marketing game

    I got to the Best Buy on Broadway and Houston (New York) a few minutes after they opened today. There were already about 10 people in line. For the next 45 minutes, I watched a single employee sell two phones, moving with a kind of Tai Chi slowness that would have been funny if it weren't wasting my Saturday morning. Only after overhearing two people at the front of the line and then confirming with a direct question to the employees did I learn that the downtown Manhattan store had only four (4) phones for sale to begin with. Even though they could see that there were many more people than that standing in line, they did not bother to say anything. I then walked over to the Sprint store a few blocks away. Similar story. The large store was empty inside (and open), with the long line of people kept outside the store for everybody to see. I waited in that line for about 15 minutes without seeing it move at all. The Sprint Employee guarding the door said she didn't know how many phones they had but that she thought there would be enough. At the rate that the line was moving, that might have been technically true, but I wasn't going to ruin the day to find out.

    It is clear to me that Sprint and Best Buy and probably Palm are using their customers as advertising pieces, much as nightclubs sometimes keep people waiting outside the velvet rope.

    I'd suggest voting with your dollars

  1. c4rlob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    $299 not $199

    To be truthful - the Pre is $299 - it is only $199 at Best Buy Stores (which apparently have an extremely low stock to begin with) that are including a $100 rebate at the time of purchase. So it's actually $100 more expensive than the comparable iPhone 3G - big difference!

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    cheesy tactics

    If you have to do this kind of thing it doesn't say much about the eventual popularity of your product.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The Pre isn't going

    to sell well because Palm doesn't know how to market products, not because the handset isn't good. Don't worry, I'm not saying it's an iPhone beater. It should be good enough to pull the WinMo and Android fans to them if the Sprint network is any good and Palm is quick to resolve any problems. So, if the Pre fails, it's because of Palm's poor planning or lack of cash.

    Once the iPhone Video is announced, that's it. The Pre will not even be in the same league. Mainly, Apple already has a loyal fanbase and Apple will market the h*** out of the iPhone platform to first time buyers. This will be another iPhone summer. I'd swear I saw a videoconferencing (two camera) version as the top of the line iPhone. Maybe every Nokia in the world has dual cameras but Apple is gonna turn VC into a household word in the U.S.

    When Steve steps back on stage with a new product, it's game over for the competition.

  1. ScottG

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Will it Shoot iPhone down

    Let me address the Mob at the local Sprint Store in Marlton, NJ on Route 73.

    I walked right into the store, added my name to the list then sat down on a nice cushion chair. I waited 28 minutes to be called up, and I'm thinking that a Sprint Customer as I am with a Family Plan of 4 Phones, all Palm versions probably got a push to the front of the list a little faster then a non Sprint customer. I don't know if this was the case or not, but when talking to some others that had been there since 8am for over 2 hours, and I walk right in and get called in under 30 minutes is very nice.

    Much to my surprise I got a very nice deal with the family plan I had already. My concern was what i read on having to get the unlimited plan for all phones which would have made my monthly payments got from $180.00 to $429.00, which was the deal you get online in the pricing page. NONE of this was the case at all, in fact my Minutes for the Shared Plan of 1400 went up to 1500 minutes a month, and my Bill went down $10.00!!! Now that's a real Deal. Phone cost me $300.00 plus some other accessories I wanted. I get a Cash Rebate of $100.00 in the Mail.

    Now on to the Phone, well all i can say is WOW!!! SUPER WOW!!! First the coolest thing is how as I'm a Mac User and this connected right up to my Mac Mail, showing all the sub folders I have setup just as i was sitting on the Mac using the mail App. The setup was quick, and all i had to do was enter my Email and Password, none of the SMTP stuff you always had to do in the past with ports and SSL's. Just a real nice way to pull this off on Palm's end. The Web Browser is STELLAR! FAST! and I'm seeing 3x the speed for sites to come up verse the iPhone with both having a clean cache so nothing is stored to increase the Web Page Pull Up. The Service it surprisingly fast on their network compared to the Treo 700P I was using prior to this upgrade.

    I've got a lot of playing to do, and learning new stuff now too. I will update soon this write up as i have more time to play.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cry babies

    Let some people enjoy their phone. Just because it isn't an iphone doesn't mean you need to whine about it.

    Stop giving apple a bad name, you sallys.

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Can't wait to see the reviews of this thing with High Quality 3D games like Need For Speed Undercover

  1. Mebsat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    props to Palm

    Friend bought one, let me play with it.

    Very responsive, the touchscreen extends below the actual screen for navigation purposes. It synced immediately with my friend's exchange server, gmail, etc.

    Well done. I still love my iPhone.

    The rising tide raises all boats or whatever...

    (Remember how lame phones were just two years ago???)

  1. bluejammm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Except one thing....

    ...sprint absolutely sucks!

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't know

    I am on the fence. We get our discount with Sprint through my wife's work. That plus the returning customer discount equals around 40%. We are going to look at AT&T and see what her work gives as a discount as well, but in the end, it is her decision as I simply use one of the extra phones on the family plan.

    I don't really care that much about phones, but I do have an iPod Touch. It would be nice to use the internet and email features away from a wireless internet connection, but I don't know if I want to combine my phone and mp3 player into one device.

    I guess we will know within a week as to whether she goes Palm Pre or iPhone.

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